Representations of early family relationships predict marital maintenance during the transition to parenthood

Melissa Curran, Nancy Hazen, Deborah Jacobvitz, Amy Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Marital maintenance, which involves engaging in behaviors that maintain closeness and is critical to sustaining marital satisfaction, was examined in 234 husbands and wives across the transition to parenthood. Prenatal assessments of adults' attachment representations and memories of their parents' marriage during childhood predicted perceptions of maintenance in their own marriage prenatally and 24 months postpartum. Adults who dismiss the importance of early attachment and lack believable memories of their parents' marriage reported the lowest levels of prenatal maintenance. Adults who are preoccupied with their early relationships with parents and have negative memories of their parents' marriage reported the sharpest declines in maintenance postpartum. Family interventions that can help couples recognize and explore problems that may accompany parenthood are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005
Externally publishedYes



  • Attachment
  • Communication
  • Conflict
  • Maintenance
  • Marriage
  • Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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